I have a back deck, and if you live in the suburbs, you probably do too. I wish I had a front porch. Kendra Juskus, in a terrific post at Flourish, explains why a front page is an important tool of community and of ministry.
The porch is a physical space that is both personal to its owner and hospitable to guests and strangers. It is a threshold of community: neither a place of anonymity, nor of complete intimacy. It is a place where new connections are wrought and old connections are strengthened. One can be invited onto a front porch even as a passerby; it provides opportunities for welcoming the stranger.
Contrast the front porch with the back deck, an architectural feature that arose in American neighborhoods in the 1970s. The back deck is purely private, a sanctuary into which only the friends and relatives of the deck owner are admitted.